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January 24, 2022

My life is chaotic and overwhelming,
what can I do about it?


There is always something you can do to support yourself, even during the most trying times. But even when you seem to have no options left, you'll benefit from any effort you can put into building your resilience. This is the ability to withstand and recover quickly from difficult conditions. Did you know this is a skill you can actively develop?


The Resilience Project

Starting in schools and now more broadly in workplaces and communities, The Resilience Project share emotionally engaging stories and practical wellbeing strategies. They have three key pillars proven to cultivate positive emotion - Gratitude, Empathy and Mindfulness (GEM).  

Read below for a a short description of what each mean, and some simple ways to integrate them into your daily life.

Gratitude

This is the attitude of paying attention to what you have and not worrying about the things you don't have. Try:

  • Positive reflection
    At the end of each day think back on what you are most grateful for happening that day. Discuss this with your partner, family or friends. You can also write these down so you can reflect on them in the future (hence how popular gratitude journals are).
  • Visual reminders
    A major obstacle to gratitude is forgetfulness, so use visual reminders as triggers for thoughts of gratitude. The best visual reminders are seeing people you love and cherish. You could also take photos, write / read written affirmations, or have physicals symbols in your space (ie ornaments).

Empathy

This is about understanding how other people feel, and being kind and supportive with them. Try:

  • Listen to understand, not reply
    When listening to others you can often fall into only thinking about what you want to say in response. Instead, listen to understand what they are saying and feeling. People feel valued and important when they feel heard, so put yourself to the side and think of them.
  • Say something kind
    You need 5x more positive comments to balance out the effects of negative comments your hear daily. Positive comments can help motivation, boost confidence, and it shows others you value them. It can be as simple as "You did that really well" or "I appreciate you".

Mindfulness

This is the practise of being in the moment, and to encourage feelings of calm and being relaxed. Try:

  • Listening to your senses: 
    Wherever you are focus on each of your senses one at a time - Sight Hearing Touch Taste Smell. Listen to your surroundings in full rich detail. Let all else drop away and be fully in the moment. (For bonus points focus on other senses like temperature, balance, pain, etc)
  • Breathing reset:
    When you get caught up in the pace of life, your breathing tends to get more shallow. To counter this, reset your breathing with a technique known as box breathing. Breathe in deeply for a count of 4, hold for 4, breathe out fully for 4, and hold for 4. Repeat this 4 times for increase calm and connection to your body.

Part of a good life

This may sound like a lot, but you don't need to do them all today. One by one start to make these and similar practises part of life. Your resilience will grow and you'll start thriving (not just surviving) during the hard times.

If you are having a particularly difficult time and want support, book a call with me here and we can talk about what you need and how I can help.

About the Author

Michael Keogh is a Health Coach and Exercise Physiologist with 7 years experience in clinical and corporate settings. He is also the co-author of upcoming book “Thrive: How to 10X your Health, Wealth and Happiness”. He uses exercise as medicine to treat chronic disease and ensure healthy ageing, whilst guiding his clients towards sustainable health behaviours that result in improved performance and greater satisfaction in work and life.

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